Happy Hump Day! It may be Wednesday, but Ms. Foodie is already working for the weekend…
Ms. Foodie prefers quick and dirty for the weekend–that’s meals, not… get your mind out of the gutter!
As much as Ms. Foodie loves food, and loves the kitchen, I don’t want to spend all weekend there. So easy, one-dish meals, particularly ones that can be planned ahead of time, are always on the list. And as always, I’m not opposed to using other recipes as my launch pad.
My friend Terri Gibson posted this Pizza Casserole recipe on her Facebook page, and I immediately snagged it so that I could make it on Saturday. It looks complex, but like Pizza, it is sooo easy to prepare, and can even be prepared the night before, placed in the refrigerator, and cooked the next day. That might even be preferred, as the flavors get to merge and meld to make this already flavorful dish even better!
The original recipe is from Jinkyfer on her WordPress blog, “Recipes that Look and Sound Good“. Jinkyfer doesn’t play, and all the recipes had me drooling. The only thing Ms. Foodie adjusted was the cook time. The recipe calls for 25 minutes, but I like my pizza and cheese crispy, yet gooey, so 45 minutes was a better measure.
For Sunday, AllRecipes.com was my go-to site, and Cheesy Pork Chop Casserole was on the menu. No measuring, no mixing, just real easy fixing, as the commercial goes. The most time took was peeling and slicing the potatoes–otherwise, gravy!
Desserts are also packaged into my weekend (unless I get a particular craving during the week), and this Banana Bread Bars with Brown Butter Frosting from “Life’s Simple Measures” Blog could not be resisted. Like the Pizza Casserole, it is extremely easy, even down to the Browned Butter Frosting. Ms. Foodie miscalculated on the Powdered Sugar, so I just added a bit of cornstarch to help the thickening.
Turned out beautiful, and the taste was scrumptious! It was moist and light, yet had that denseness that I love in Banana breads.
After an almost 5 year hiatus, Ms. Foodie is giving it another go. This series will be called… Summer Fare.
Ms. Foodie is not a salad person, mostly because they are unsatisfying and a pretender to health. Iceberg is just water, and once you throw cheese and those fattening salad dressings on them, what part of health is there? Mr. Foodie, on the other hand, loves salads because he feels like it is his one concession to health. His salads are always accompanied with a generous helping of Ranch, of course. So Ms. Foodie has been perfecting her own salad recipes that meet the criteria of satisfaction while allowing Mr. Foodie to feel as though he is doing something good. They also provide quick meals in Summer when the last thing Ms. Foodie feels like doing is turning on a stove.
The first key is the base, which can’t just pretend to health, but actually needs to contain some nutrients; so Hasta la Vista iceberg and Romaine. Ms. Foodie’s salad bases tend toward Kale, Spinach, or her newest favorite, Arugula. Arugula has that wonderful peppery quality, allaying boredom, and delighting the taste buds. (smacks lips)
Ms. Foodie has been perfecting this Chicken Arugula with Pine Nuts Salad for about a year now. Ms. Foodie needs the heft of protein in her salads, so in addition to the Pine Nuts, I added Chicken. I have made this salad with Smoked Deli Chicken Breast, Boiled Chicken Breast, and for this round I used a Fried Chicken Breast, the breading adding extra crunch and extra flavor. Along with Heirloom Cherry Tomatoes, which add to the flavor profile and provide a nice burst in your mouth, I added a few Roma Tomatoes for some gravity. This time around Ms. Foodie decided to add chopped boiled Eggs for more gravity and protein heft. Tossed with Shredded Parmesan Cheese, and a Sesame Umami Dressing, it hits all the points for both of us: Health coupled with satisfying Flavor and Substance.
This 2018 Clarksburg Batik Chenin Blanc is also doing this recipe justice! Shout out to Bright Cellars for a great pick.
Ms. Foodie loves Pinterest! It literally has replaced any recipe books I might have (very few), and is so easy to access and categorize. Tonight’s dinner was selected from one of Ms. Foodie’s various food boards, and while Ms. Foodie enjoyed it, we will definitely be adjusting some of the ingredients for future preparations. If you want to follow Ms. Foodie’s boards on Pinterest, click here.
The recipe for Yellow Jasmine Rice was just an internet search away. Of course, Ms. Foodie added her own flourishes to the dish, as is my wont. Don’t hate, emulate.
Ms. Foodie has been a travelin’ fool lately, and that means the kitchen Stores have gotten waaay low. But, ever resourceful, Ms. Foodie found something to start off my and Mr. Foodie’s day. With the help of Potato Bread, some Cheddar-Jack blend shredded cheese, some bacon I had stashed in the freezer (defrosted, of course), and a bit of carmelized onions, we had our brunch!
Mr. Foodie gets to go to a game, and Ms. Foodie plans to get in her Yoga later this afternoon, so this will just keep the energy flowing until I can scrounge through The Stores for dinner.
Summertime… and the livin’ is easy. As far as Ms. Foodie is concerned, so should the cooking.
With the help of my rice cooker, Ms. Foodie was able to mount this dinner in 30 minutes. The salmon was grilled in a cast iron skillet with a tablespoon of Sesame Oil, then spiced with Sea Salt, Cayenne, Ginger, Minced Onion, and basted with Pineapples and a bit of the juice.
Easy, filling, and Ms. Foodie didn’t even break a sweat. My kind of Summer meal!
While Ms. Foodie loves to mount elaborate meals from time-to-time, for the most part, I depend a great deal on Kitchen Cabinet Cooking: what’s in the Store (my cabinet/fridge), and what can be made quickly.
This meal has several quick and dirty components:
- Chicken Thighs: The easiest part of the Chicken to grill and bake, because thighs they require so little maintenance, while still retaining their moisture and flavor. You can cook eight chicken thighs in a 400 degree oven in as little as 45 minutes.
- Frozen Vegetables: Look, I grew up in the Midwest, and fresh vegetables were only possible in the late Spring and the Summer—or you paid a lot of money for shipped produce which didn’t retain half the nutrients. Frozen vegetables, especially the flash frozen variety we find today, retain much of the nutrients of their fresh counterpart, and they make for an easy meal accompaniment.
- Pre-cooked sides: Ms. Foodie adores her Rice Cooker, and when I cook rice, I always make an extra cup or two. Cooked rice refrigerates for up to five days; so that means you can focus on the meat or veggie part of your meal, and simply heat up or nuke the rice to go along with it.
Thanks to this extremely easy recipe from Healthy. Delicious., frozen Spinach and Sweet Corn, and pre-cooked Jasmine Rice, Ms. Foodie was able to crank out dinner in less than an hour.
When you have so many things to do, wherever you can save time makes a huge difference.
In a quest to find different things to do with Salmon fillet, Ms. Foodie decided to try a stir fry. After combing a few recipes, and coming up empty, Ms. Foodie decided to play around with what was in the Store.
After foraging in the refrigerator, I discovered Mushrooms, Baby Carrots, Snow Peas, and Kale. Ms. Foodie chopped those up, along with Onions and Garlic, then sauteed the lot in a base of Sesame Oil and dried Basil. Ms. Foodie then chopped up the Salmon fillet, and added it to the veggie mix. Then I added a tablespoon or so of Soy Sauce, and a cup of Sweet Chili Sauce to complete the transformation.
Served over a bed of Jasmine Rice, this quickie meal was just the ticket!